For a child with a disability, change can be very difficult. Many of these children rely on routine and consistency, so when a major change comes it can be very difficult for them – and for you as their parent. The first thing a parent of a child with special needs should do before sending him/her to a new school is to the visit the school with the child. You can take pictures of the building so they can become familiar with their new surroundings. While at the school, ask questions and inform the relevant staff about your child’s needs. Ask for a copy of your child’s schedule so you can prepare your child for the day.
Once school begins, walk your child to class for a few weeks. Then, keep in regular contact with the teacher. If possible, stop in sometimes and visit your child in his/her classroom to ensure he/she is feeling comfortable and that you are satisfied with the way his/her classroom is running.
In South Jersey, there are certain districts that are listed as “Schools of Choice.” However, for students with special needs, their school placement is usually determined through the IEP Process. Any out of district placements are determined by the team due to needs that cannot be met within the school that would be in district. These needs are usually related to behavioral problems, medical problems, or other related services needs such as occupational therapy, speech therapy, or physical therapy.